Protein and Plants- A Match Made in Heaven!

Let’s talk about protein. We all know we need to get a certain amount of it daily to repair and maintain our muscles, keep our nails, hair, and skin healthy, and keep our body functioning the best it can.  The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This can vary depending on an individuals’ specific weight and muscle loss or gain goals.

When someone says the words “plant-based protein” some may cease up in fear and picture a big bowl of plain spinach for breakfast lunch and dinner.  Not to worry because that is far from the case! Plant-based protein can be made into delicious breakfast, lunches, and dinners!

There are tons of ways to eat a substantial and delicious plant-based diet without having to see a salad in sight!  Using ingredients like nuts, tofu, vegetables, legumes and whole grains-Millet is one of the only grains not listed on the grains to avoid list from the Plant Paradox.

It’s easy to make mouth-watering meals, appetizers, and even desserts that are high in protein without using any animal product. Our friends at WickedHealthy, authors of The Whole Foods Cook Book as well as The Wicked Healthy Cook Book, are perfect examples of how plant-based food is far from boring.  Check out their Chao Queso Con Carne over our Millet Tots in the link below!

You might still be thinking, why plant-based?  Not only is plant-based protein a more economical and environmentally sustainable way of getting your daily protein, but there are far less risk factors associated with plant-based protein than animal based protein.  Our list includes:

1)Health reasons- keep your body happy and healthy!

-Animal products are often loaded with chemicals and preservatives we can’t even pronounce.  This has also been linked to a number of health complications such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, “The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease.”(Tuso). Often times animal based protein comes with higher amounts of saturated fats (unhealthy fats) as well as sodium.

-When it comes to sodium and fat- the daily recommended amount is no more than 2,300 mg of sodium and no more than 30mg of saturated fat.  Many animal products commonly found in restaurants and grocery stores take up a pretty large amount of that daily intake with just one serving!  But before you hesitate, we have compared these foods with high protein, low saturated fat and sodium plant-based alternatives!

-1 serving of low sodium turkey lunch meat=270mg of sodium, 2g saturated fat , 1 cup of black beans=9.7mg of sodium, 0g saturated fat

-2 breakfast sausages links=340mg of sodium, 8g saturated fat, 1/2 cup of steel cut oats= 0mg of sodium, 1g saturated fat

-4oz ground turkey=63mg of sodium, 2g saturated fat, 1/4 cup of green split peas=25mg of sodium, 0g saturated fat

2)Environmental reasons- This planet is our only home- so lets keep it beautiful!

-Animals are being bred to be killed by the meat industry. While the animals in the dairy industry are not always killed- they are confined in small unsanitary conditions which causes them great stress.  These hormones from the stress of their unnatural living conditions can often translate into harmful byproducts in the meat which can be harmful to consumers. The gasses and fumes coming from slaughter houses and dairy farms have also had a substantial effect on climate change and pollution.

-“The consumption of meat, at least when viewed from the global perspective, is one of the most environmentally damaging day-to-day behaviors that humans perform,” said researcher Garrett Lentz from the University of Otago.” (Bedo)

3)Economical Reasons- More bang for your buck!

-Animal products like meat and dairy can go bad before you know it causing you to have to discard it. Did you know the average American household throws away $2,200 of food each year?  The graph below, (Figure 1) shows the amount of animal products that are discarded at a retail and consumer level.

-Animal products tend to be more expensive than plant-based protein options, and plant-based protein can have just as much protein if not more per gram than animal products

-1 egg= 6 grams of protein, 2 Tbs (32 gram) of peanut butter= 8grams

-2 strips of bacon= 5 grams of protein, 1/2 cup of edamame= 9 grams

-1 cup of ground beef= 36 grams of protein, 1 cup of seitan= 63 grams

Figure 1

CITATIONS

Bedo, S. (2018, July 20). You might want to rethink that steak for dinner tonight. Retrieved from https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/the-downsides-to-eating-too-much-meat-as-researchers-uncover-its-major-effects-on-the-world/news-story/f8d4f52647c68fe6c125e59d50bb63dd

Harish. (n.d.). Animals we use and abuse for food we do not eat. Retrieved from http://www.countinganimals.com/animals-we-use-and-abuse-for-food-we-do-not-eat/

Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. The Permanente journal, 17(2), 61-6.